“A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. … Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.”
In India, illiteracy of a large number of people has turned the visions of ‘Education for All’ into empty
dreams. Especially, population explosion has put a heavy pressure on its available infra-structure. India has the world’s largest population of illiterates. In absolute number, the figure of illiterates is alarming.No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.
Education in Ancient India
Knowledge was passed on orally from one generation to another in ancient India. Education involved three basic processes, one, which included ‘Sravana’ (stage of acquiring knowledge of ‘Shrutis’ by listening). Two, ‘Manana’ (meaning pupils to think, analyse themselves about what they heard, assimilate the lessons taught by their teacher and make their own inferences,) and three ‘Nidhyasana
(meaning comprehension of truth and and apply/use it into real life).
Modern education before Independence
Modern education system was implanted by British rulers. Before the advent of British in India, education system was private one. In 1835, Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of present system of education and changed the scenario. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were vernacular languages, while the higher education was granted in English only. British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and slowly some of the schools became government
Modern education after Independence
After independence, even relentless effort of reformers, government and NGO’S only a small could educate a very small number of people especially from amongst backwards. Masses could not avail the benefit of modern/formal education. It is not so much because of resistance from caste Hindus, as for other reasons. It is falsely accused and propagated by some intellectuals, leaders, reformers and
supporters of Reservation/Affirmative Action Policy that privileged upper castes have taken advantage of modern education to establish or reinforce its traditional dominance. They prevented lower castes from getting educated or promoting their status in modern society. However, as modern history points out, on the contrary, it was mainly impoverished group amongst Brahmin and caste Hindus opting for modern education.
Importance of knowledge in education can not be denied. Purpose of education has unfortunately been misunderstood to mean acquiring as much academic knowledge as possible, leading towards award of degrees. But equally important is inculcating skills in all the vocations according to aptitude of different individuals through practical training for overall development of nation. Training in different vocations should be given when minds of individuals are still in formative stage. Training becomes necessary for appling knowledge in real life.